This cider was an experiment to pasteurize the cider prior to fermenting, and adding hops during the pasteurization process. The short-term result was an opaque cider that looked like canned pineapple juice. After aging for a long time the cider clarified, leaving a pile of sediment at the bottom. In the end, pasteurizing and adding hops in this way definitely made for a bad cider recipe. Interestingly, a separate small batch was fermented without the hops or pasteurization and that small batch came out great, which makes for a good comparison!
I pressed 4 gallons of cider into a carboy using 3 bags of Devoe’s apples (I probably need 4 bags to get a solid 5-6 gallons). It’s sitting in a cold room with an airlock. I gassed a little co2 into the top to try and reduce oxidation. The plan is:
Let the sediment settle for 3 days. Then siphon the cider off the sediment into the 5 gallon pot, with hops and pasteurize. Cool it quickly using the wort chiller. Clean and sterilize the glass carboy. Siphon the pasteurized, chilled cider into the carboy, add yeast and yeast nutrient.
Let that ferment. From here there are two options:
- Let that ferment like until it’s barely done fermenting. Rack it into the 3-gallon carboy and let it sit for 6 months to a year.
- If there isn’t too much sediment, then maybe it makes sense to consume this as a young cider. Let it ferment until it’s thoroughly done fermenting. Rack it into a keg. Give it a little time, then it’s ready to drink and/or bottle. I can age some of the bottles.
The cider sat for four days and tastes great. The thicker stuff at the bottom even tasted totally fine so I’m thinking that letting it sit for 4 days was pointless - better to rack to secondary at some later stage. Specific grav: 1.048 which translates to like 6.2%! Not bad. I'm siphoning into a pot and boiling. I added 2 ounces of old palisade hop pellets from JQE partway into the boil. Then when it reached 161 degrees, used the wort chiller to chill. I skimmed off a lot of the hops. Cleaned and sterilized equipment. Then basically poured it through a mesh strainer bag, into a funnel, into the carboy. There were a lot of hops to strain out. I added about a teaspoon of yeast nutrient and a packet of older cider yeast. Added the airlock and stuck it on the stairs in the basement. The hops definitely complicated the process of returning the liquid to the carboy - it definitely aerated some at this point. I’m not sure if that’s bad or not? It’s probably not great for oxidizing cider but who knows.
Primary should take 5-9 days, so I’m going to set a calendar entry for 7 days.
2/18/21 I took the thick bottom cider from the 5 gallon batch of unpasteurized cider, put it in a growler with some white wine yeast, and added an airlock. (Which eventually became “Munch”, see below.)
It has been 7 days. 2 days ago the fermenter was bubbling every few seconds. Yesterday it was bubbling every minute. It’s pretty cloudy, so I expect there to be a fair amount of sediment as this thing settles. It didn't taste very good, just very sort of yeasty, but I don’t think there was anything bad or out of the ordinary at this stage. It filled the 3-gallon carboy perfectly.
Smooshed Banana: I put the bottommost stuff from the 3-gallon batch into a 1-liter Tree House bottle for fermenting and for taste testing later. 2 weeks later, I took this mini batch (eventually named, "Smooshed Banana" and poured some in a clear bottle. I tasted the bottommost stuff. It tasted interesting. It has an almost pineapple juice look to it. And some kind of fruity smell, not quite like apples? Very odd! Almost like mild smooshed banana or something. Good, not bad, but unexpected! A total of about 3 weeks since this was apples.
Smooshed Banana: Hop-Pastuerized Hard Cider Ingredients: Palisade hop-pasteurized cider made from Devoe’s apples, cider yeast, yeast nutrient. This was the leftover bottom stuff from a 3-gallon batch. 1 week in primary, 1.5 weeks in secondary, then bottled. At bottling time: looks like canned pineapple juice and tastes almost like smooshed banana. ABV: 6%. (Future note from 10/14/22 - enjoyed Smooshed Banana w/O. It had clarified, with ⅓ inch or so of sediment in the bottom. It was ok but definitely not great).
== 3/6/21 ==
The 3-gallon carboy is still looking quite cloudy which is interesting. I think I expected it to go clear pretty quickly but I guess not. Kinda cool, maybe reminds me of Downeast if I bottled it now.
Munch - Yeast added 2/18/21, bottled it 3/6/21 - two beer bottles, and one pop top 750 Tree House bottle. Plus one glass to taste. This was the same devoe’s apples, some green apples, rest red. Unpasteurized, with just (Red Star Premier Blanc) white wine yeast added. No secondary, just 3 weeks or so in primary. Tastes really awesome already.
M tasted it and said, “I think I like it”. Not a lot of flavor, tastes like biting into an apple, like a plain apple, like a Macintosh. Jake says - A tiny bit tart, a tiny bit sour (like lollipop sour, not funky at all). But really good!
Finally, on 3/6/21, I autosiphoned the 3 gallons of hop-pasteurized cider into a keg. That process went super smooth. At the end I siphoned to a different container, tilted the carboy, and slurped up the bottom stuff, trub plus cider. I used the sedimenty stuff to fill and cap one bottle, then drank two small glasses with the remainder. How is it? Looks like canned pineapple juice. Doesn’t smell like much. Hard to place the taste. I can taste a little trub. I also maybe taste a little of that biting hop burn like some over-hopped Trillium beers have - nothing particularly pleasant about that. I dunno, I feel like the light flavor of cider is kinda overwhelmed by whatever cloudy hop monster is in there. So it kinda tastes like sludge. Not unpleasant, but nothing pleasant really jumps out either.
Several shortcomings here I can think of:
- Using very old hops
- Maybe hopping a cider is just a bad idea
- Maybe pasteurizing cider is just a bad idea
- What I tasted was very sedimentary
It will be interesting to:
- Chill, carbonate, and taste
- Make the next pasteurized cider without any hops, see how that turns out
Here is what the cider looks like after settling out, 18 months later:
I finally enjoyed the bottle pictured above. It is definitely ok! Nothing bad about it besides the ugly sawdust cake at the bottom. Kind of a light cider - light on flavor, carbonation, and body. It tastes almost like a mild lemonade. I’d give it a 7.